Lawmakers, Workers Call for Reforms To Garbage Pickups

The death of a coworker inspired workers and lawmakers to rally yesterday in front of 100 Church Street in Lower Manhattan for major changes to come in the private sector of waste management in New York City.

The rally in front of 100 Church Street in Lower Manhattan. Photo by RJ Sonbeek

According to an article in ProPublica, Mouctar Diallo, the 21-year-old employee of Salvation Sanitations, was run over by the truck, and the company told police he was a “crazed homeless person,” and had no relation to the company. The driver who ran over Diallo was kept on as a driver, then struck and killed another person in April 2018.

In order to advocate for changes to the regulations of the private waste collectors industry, over 100 people gathered to have their voices heard and to make sure Diallo’s death would spark major changes in the industry.

Lawmakers and advocacy groups in attendance included City Council members Antonio Reynoso (D-Brooklyn)  Rory Lancman (D-Queens), Mark Levine (D-Manhattan), Carlos Menchaca (D-Brooklyn) and Brad Lander (D-Brooklyn), as well as members of Teamsters Local 813, Teamsters joint council 16, SEIU 32BJ, African Communities Together and Transform Don’t Trash NYC coalition.

Reynoso, who is the council’s Sanitation Committee chair, said this should be the event that makes the city council start to regulate the industry, one he says has gone unchecked for far too long.

City Councilman Antonio Reynoso

“I once again find myself calling for reforms to the private sanitation industry after another senseless tragedy. How many more of our City’s residents will need to die beneath the wheels of a private carter before the administration steps up and demands accountability?” he said.

Reynoso said that a company such as Sanitation Salvage should not be allowed after being responsible for so many deaths. He is calling for the suspension of Sanitation Salvage’s license.

“For far too long, our City’s residents have paid the price of an industry run amuck. It is time that the New York City Council take action to regulate the private sanitation industry by passing comprehensive legislation,” Reynoso said.

Levine applauded the workers for coming together, saying it was a good way to fight back.

“We need to hold the powers that be accountable,” he said.

Levine said the Business Integrity Commission also needs to answer for what happened in allowing Salvation Sanitations to walk away from the situation unscathed.

“This is a heavily regulated industry, this is regulated by a city agency,” he said, “The BIC needs to be held accountable, to do its job and shut down bad actors.”

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